Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: I am but a mirror
By Melanie Kerr
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Does anyone remember their birth? I know that I don't. I don't remember the time when that small shoot was buried deep in the earth. I don't remember the touch of the hand that held me straight and upright as the light brown soil was tapped down around me. Each day I was watered, and a voice spoke, praying words of fruitfulness into the sap that soared through me veins.
As the years passed I could remember the soft stroking of white wash against my trunk, protecting me from the hot sun. I could feel the joy as buds appeared, studding my branches, exploding in clusters of rich dark green leaves. The bright sunshine poured down upon me, and a light breeze twitched and teased me into dancing. As I lifted and swayed my branches in the blue sky, I knew that my creator watched.
Many years later I felt the rumble of the ground beside me as large blocks of stone on wooden rollers trundled by, pulled and pushed by dark skinned men, sweating and swearing. A glorious building rose up behind me, as stone upon stone was laid in majestic walls and pillars that rose into the sky, far higher than I could ever reach.
I think I saw him once, my creator, as a boy of twelve. Seated beneath my branches, on a bed of my roots, he gazed upwards into my branches, twisting his head in impossible angles. I flinched, knowing that he was searching for something he would never find. My roots, bedded deep in the earth, supplied hopeful pictures of how things might be the next time we would meet.
I had never known the joy of bearing fruit. The early and late harvests had never blessed my branches. Leaves I had in abundance and they concealed my barrenness. I contented myself with the knowledge that I provided shade for a weary pilgrim. The sunlight, skipping among my branches, painting my leaves with sparkling shards, created a waltzing pattern on the ground around me. I fooled myself into contentment thinking that was enough.
Each year saw the line of pilgrims singing their way up the hill to the Temple, and I scanned each face, looking for the boy turned man. Underneath my branches, men whispered stories of a healer whose touch brought wholeness, and I dreamed of his touch. I didn't know what figs looked like, only that I had never borne them. I had never fulfilled the purpose for which I was created, but his touch would change that.
Then came the day. It was late in the evening. There had been singing, and palm branches waved that day as the creator arrived, riding on a donkey. He glanced at me on his way to the temple. His look pierced through the leaves I used to cover my emptiness.
The Temple even at that late hour was busy with people bustling. Stalls were set up ready for the morning market and one or two people disappeared, laden with bags bulging with bread and wine, cutting through the temple courts on their way home.
So engrossed was I in watching people, that at first I never noticed his presence. I felt the touch of his hand. The creator knew all about wood, and I felt the strength of his fingers probing the contours of my trunk, appreciating my strength and firmness.
I could feel his thoughts and I knew that there was no healing touch for me.
"I looked for fruit. In the temple I looked for people who would worship me in spirit and in truth, but all heard the bleating of sheep and the singing of doves. There was no evidence that real worship was going on. So much happening, like clusters of leaves blowing in the wind, but nothing that would feed those with hearts seeking for God. The Temple offers promise, but deceives the spirit, leaving a man hungry and aching of that which satisfies."
"Cursed are you, fig tree.."
I knew that for this moment I was created. This was my purpose, to be a mirror. My barrenness reflected the empty temple worship. My death would herald the Temple's own and everything would change.
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